Archive for June, 2009

State Board of Education Sets Achievement Standards for Alternative Assessments to Demonstrate Proficiency of Essential Skills

On May 14th, 2009, the State Board of Education adopted achievement levels (“cut scores”) for tests which may be used by students to demonstrate their proficiency in the essential skills of Reading and Applying Mathematics.
Students in the Class of 2012 and beyond are required to demonstrate proficiency in essentials skills as part of attaining an Oregon Diploma.

The adopted scores represent a rigorous standard similar to the level of achievement required to earn a score of 236 on the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) tests. The scores were recommended by the Assessment of Essential Skills Review Panel (AESRP), a group appointed by Superintendent Susan Castillo to advise the Department of Education and the State Board on issues related to the essential skills.

The Board emphasized that while the adopted scores are rigorous, they are not to be considered as maximum expectations. Instead, they are minimum standards that will open a variety of postsecondary opportunities for Oregon high school graduates, including colleges and universities, community colleges, trade and apprenticeship schools, and employment.

Although districts are not required to offer all of the standardized testing options approved by the State Board, the Department of Education encourages districts to make as many of these additional test options available to their students as possible. Partnering with other institutions in providing test opportunities can help expand these testing options Many of the selected tests are scheduled regularly by colleges and community colleges around the state.

It is possible that a student may choose a State Board-approved testing option that his or her district does not offer in order to meet an essential skills requirement. If the student achieves the minimum cut score on the standardized assessment and there is sufficient documentation that the student completed the tests consistent with the requirements of the respective test publishers, the district should accept the results.

ODE staff is continuing its collaboration with the College Board to review additional assessment options. The AESRP will utilize this work to draft additional test and achievement level recommendations, with plans to present them to the State Board in the fall. ODE and the AESRP are also continuing to develop criteria for local assessment options that students may use to demonstrate their proficiency in the essential skills.

In addition to the standardized tests, students may demonstrate proficiency in the essential skills by completing work samples which are then scored by the school or district using Official Scoring Guides.


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HB 2061 Signed into Law, Effective Immediately Governor Kulongoski signed HB 2061 PDF into law on April 1st. This law is a technical fix which waives the increased graduation credit requirements for some students. The increased graduation requirements were passed by the 2005 Legislature and set to go into effect July 1, 2009. These requirements are one additional English credit (for a total of 4) and one additional mathematics credit (for a total of 3). This waiver only applies to students who began ninth grade during the 2005-2006 school year, attended school consecutively during the 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school years and who will receive their diploma prior to July 1, 2010. This law is binding and has immediate effect. OAR 581-022-1130, which outlines the diploma implementation timeline, will be revised in June to reflect the change.

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